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The Skincare Routine That Got My Cystic Acne All The Way Together

The skincare routine that is helping me say goodbye to cystic acne and kick hyperpigmentation's ass one day at a time.

About Face

In About Face, xoNecole gets the 411 on IGers who give us #skincaregoals on the daily. Here they break down their beauty routines on the inside and out, as well as the highly coveted products that grace their shelves and their skin.

For the past two years, I've been at xoNecole telling y'all all of my business and I don't regret any of it because you are my good sisters and I love you. You've never known me to not keep it real with you, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't admit that I've been keeping a secret: I just got out of a toxic relationship.


No matter how hard I tried, how much time I invested, or how much money I spent, my skin has relentlessly been disrespecting me and it was upsetting me and my homegirls. My trouble began about six months after relocating from Louisiana to Colorado, and soon, my acne got so bad that I was too embarrassed to be seen in public without makeup.

Pretty Honore/xoNecole

Holidays, birthday parties, and congratulatory gatherings all took a backseat to my cystic acne, which seemed to only get worse by the day, and after spending hundreds of dollars on products that I read about online that didn't work, I felt hopeless, insecure, and alone. It wasn't until this year when I decided to visit an aesthetician for the first time, who gave me all the tea on exactly how I was sabotaging my own face.

According to her, along with using products with pore-clogging ingredients, my fabric softener and B12 pills may have also been the culprits of my cystic conundrum. Together, we formulated a skincare routine that has helped keep my cystic acne all the way under control and my self-esteem on 10.

I could sit here and tell you that the secret to true beauty is confidence, but it's hard to have that when you have a skincare routine that's working against you.

Scroll below for the skincare routine that is helping me say goodbye to cystic acne and kick hyperpigmentation's ass one day at a time:

My earliest beauty memory...

"My late, maternal grandmother from Baton Rouge is responsible for my earliest beauty memory. I remember getting ready for bed with her at night as a child, and after we changed into our silky pajamas, she would always sprinkle Estée Lauder Beautiful Perfumed Body Powder on her chest and the bedsheets."

"At the time, I didn't grasp that the special bra that she removed before bed was the result of a mastectomy, but she had a quiet confidence about her that confirmed that she was special and her scented bed sheets made me feel special, too."

"I also remember applying liquid eyeliner to my bottom eyelid at one point and… yikes."

For my skincare routine in the AM...

Pretty Honore/xoNecole

"For my cleanser, I use Face Reality Mandelic Face and Body Wash, or Nolaskinsential Clarifying Cleansing Foam if I'm feeling extra dry, and rinse with cold water. I tone using Face Reality Sal-C Toner, which also works as a great exfoliant, and Thayers Witch Hazel. I hydrate and moisturize using Nolaskinsentials Hyaluronic H2O Creme, which seems to be getting my hyperpigmentation all the way together. For my serums, I'm currently using Face Reality Mandelic Serum and Nolaskinsentials Brightening C Serum. Last but certainly not least, I add a layer of Black Girl Sunscreen for the ultimate UV protection. While some skin experts say it's best to stick to one skincare system, I've found that my skin responds best to a special mix of products from two or three brands."

My morning routine looks like...

"For the most part, I depend on the SAVERS morning routine to keep me focused and grounded throughout the day, but things don't always go as planned. If I oversleep or just feel 'off' in the mornings, I call my mom, listen to a sermon, or watch a Ted Talk to get my mind right. I've struggled with IBS since I was 16 and have major anxiety in the mornings but I found that switching out my caramel machiatto for peppermint tea has been effective AF."

For my skincare routine in the PM...

Pretty Honore/xoNecole

"My skincare routine at night is the same except I eliminate sunscreen and add in Face Reality Acne Med 2.5% three to four times a week. I rarely wear makeup, but when I do, I make sure it's completely removed before bed using Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 and Equate Sensitive Skin Face Wipes from Walmart (they are the only ones I've found that don't make my skin feel sticky). When I'm in the mood for masking, I use vinegar to create a DIY Aztec Clay Mask or take a few minutes to apply Nolaskinsential Pumpkin Enzyme Mask."

How the seasons change my skin and routine...

"Living in Denver has been extremely taxing on my skin and my bank account. I frequently switch up my skincare routine to coordinate with the weather, which can be difficult when you experience all four seasons in a day. During the summer, I lighten up on the oils and serums and amp up my cleanser game. During the winter, I spend all of my coins on moisturizers and serums that cater to my combination skin type."

My go-to makeup look consists of...

"While learning to manage my fussy skin, I've discovered that less is more when developing a makeup routine. While I used to spend hours blending a full-face, I later found that a low-maintenance, easily removable beat is perfect for hiding blemishes and adding a natural glow. When I do use foundation, Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation is the only product I can count on to give me full coverage, but I feel like Bareminerals BarePro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation is lighter and better for my skin.

"I usually opt-out of foundation altogether and apply Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer to my dark spots and under my eyes, using Tarte Cosmetics Rainforest Of The Sea 4-in-1 Primer and Setting Spray to keep it in place and Fenty Beauty Killawatt Highlighter in Trophy Wife for a shimmery glow. Before I begin my brows, I set them with Benefit Cosmetics 24-Hour Brow Setter. I bought Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pencil during Ulta's 21 Days Of Beauty Sale and although I'm normally a pomade girl, I can totally believe the hype. As for my eyeshadow, I love Tarte Cosmetics Rainforest of The Sea Limited Edition Palette (which I also use for highlight and blush), but I recently ordered The Matte Book from The Crayon Case and it's slowly but surely becoming a personal favorite."

What self-care looks like to me...

"Alexa, play 'Mary Jane' by Rick James. As a workaholic, self-care can feel like a chore, but I know that it's necessary, so nevertheless, I persist. Binge-watching a sappy sitcom and playing The Sims while masking my ass off sounds like a perfect day to me."

How I approach beauty from the inside-out...

"My mom always told me, 'Pretty is as pretty does,' and I've carried that with me. I look good when I feel good and I feel good when I'm being kind––both to myself and others. Along with being mindful of the way I treat others, I approach beauty from the inside-out by managing my gut health. Living with chronic stomach issues is a pain, but as much as I want to eat junk food and cheese all day, my digestive system isn't having any of it. The way I eat affects my mood, my energy level, and even my skin, so I have to be intentional about my choices."

How my beauty routine changes when I travel...

"#MarieKondoTaughtMe that one woman's trash is another woman's travel container and I felt that in my spirit. I save old bottles from sample-sized skincare products to meet all of my skincare needs on-the-go."

To keep up with me, follow me on Instagram @PrettyHonore!

Shop Pretty Honore's Beauty Staples: 

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1

images.ulta.com

$7

Featured image by @PrettyHonore for xoNecole.com.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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